What Makes Us Human

Deepen relationships by asking questions about what makes us human

Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.

The most satisfactory definition of man from the scientific point of view is probably Man the Tool-maker. —Kenneth Page Oakley
…..[Note: He wrote this well before we observed some animals making and using use tools, but man definitely has the corner on complex tools.]

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For him the tragedy of Homo sapiens is that the least fit to survive breed the most. —John Fowles

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While we maintain the unity of the human species, we at the same time repel the depressing assumption of superior and inferior races of men. There are nations more susceptible of cultivation, more highly civilized, more ennobled by mental cultivation than others—but none in themselves nobler than others. —Alexander von Humboldt

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With the exception of certain rodents, no other vertebrate except Homo sapiens habitually destroys members of his own species. —Anthony Storr

Explore What Quality You Think Makes Us Human by Asking Yourself These Questions:

  1. If I could travel back in time for thousands and thousands of years to when hominids became the species Homo sapiens, what characteristics would I have used to determine the difference between not-yet-human and clearly human?
  2. When I say someone is “normal,” what do I mean by that? Where do I draw the line in deciding what is normal and what is not?
  3. Is there a trait that humans possess that no other animals have? What evidence do I accept for this viewpoint?

What have you learned about yourself in exploring these questions?
What have you learned about your friends if they have explored these questions with you?

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